Organic or green furniture isn’t something you are likely to find in a store. However, there are certain things you can look for when you are furniture shopping that can help minimize the impact of your furniture on the environment.
Consider the Life Cycle
The cheaper the furniture, the more shoddy the materials used and the less likely it is that it will last. If you can afford it, think about purchasing higher-end custom-built furniture handmade by local craftsmen (I’m lucky to have a Mennonite furniture store about 15 minutes away, for example). If your budget can’t take the hit, purchase your stuff from an outlet like IKEA, who do have a commitment to sustainability both in their business practices and in their materials. Besides, don’t we all want that apartment from Fight Club?
Get it Second Hand
If you really want to save some cash, consider used furniture from your local Goodwill store or similar second-hand shop. If you go to look often enough, you may actually find some design gems, especially if you are willing to have things reupholstered. Reupholstering is inexpensive when compared to the cost of a new couch.
Avoid Certain Woods
Download and use this guide by Rainforest Relief to avoid endangered woods. Many big box stores won’t be able to tell you the provenance of a wood, but you can still look for the FSC logo. Some of the ones you may find in a furniture store that you should stay away from are African and American Mahogany, Rosewood, and Teak. Teak production is also associated with human rights violations, which is another reason to stay away from it.